Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Researchers Collaborate on More Comfortable Device to Test for Sleep Apnea

There are a number of treatment options available for the various forms of sleep apnea, and most of them are more comfortable for sleep apnea sufferers than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, which have long been the standard.

Testing for sleep apnea, however, can be a cumbersome undertaking for patients, and it often involves wearing a harness, belts and a labyrinth of wires while also attempting to doze in a clinical setting. As Melvin Keierleber, who has sleep apnea and is employed by a sleep study facility, said in a Jan. 1 article about sleep apnea testing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “It’s not very conducive for sleep.”

But bioengineering researchers with the University of Texas at Arlington are working with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Fort Worth-based Sleep Consultants to design diagnostic equipment that is effective, comfortable and may be used at a patient’s home.

The team is preparing to test a portable device equipped with ultrasonic sensors, which are attached to a patient’s neck and monitor sound waves to determine whether the patient’s airway is open and how frequently breathing is interrupted. The device allows the patient to settle into his or her regular state of interrupted sleep patterns and can measure multiple sleep cycles.

If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea symptoms, please contact a dentist near you who specializes in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.

posted by Steve at 7:38 AM